Walter Palmer became the world’s most despised dentist after he paid to kill Africa’s beloved lion Cecil earlier this month.
Now, the professional hunter who accompanied the dentist on the July 1 hunt is speaking out, and he says that “the hunt went wrong from the beginning!”
On Wednesday, Theo Bronkhorst gave a detailed account of the hunt to officials. The Bulawayo native is forbidden from continuing his hunting business which he’s run since 1992, and is devastated by the outrage directed at him for Cecil’s death.
[ Related: EXCLUSIVE! Lisa Vanderpump SLAMS Cecil The Lion's Killer ]
Though, Bronkhorst’s account of the hunt makes it sound like there was a lot of confusion surrounding Dr. Palmer’s trip. He explained:
“When Dr Palmer arrived in Bulawayo, his luggage was missing and I was dashing around looking for it. So we were late getting ready to go. And we were never meant to hunt on the land where this lion was shot. At the last minute I had to divert from a concession [hunting area] about eight miles away.”
Bronkhorst explained that, on the night of July 1, he was accompanied by his son and fellow hunter Zane, the client (Dr. Palmer), and an accompanying scout, saying:
“We set off quite late, with the sun down, and found the carcass of an elephant which we dragged and moved into the long grass and used for bait. We then established the ‘tree blind’ [a camouflaged hide made of tree branches and grass]. Once we were established, and it was quiet, we first saw a lioness go past. And then a huge male – Cecil – came into view behind her. He was a magnificent animal. The client then fired using a bow and arrow, and it went away into the long grass. This was about 10 pm.”
What they didn’t see was the collar on Cecil, because he had been tagged as part of a research project run by Oxford University. The four men returned to search for Cecil at dawn the next day, and they didn’t see the collar until after the lion was killed. He continues:
“We got there about 9am, and we found it and it was wounded, and the client then shot it, with his bow and arrow, and killed it. I could not have seen the collar at night. We would never shoot a collared animal. I was devastated, and so was the client, we were both upset, and I panicked and took it off and put it in a tree.”
After Cecil was beheaded and skinned, Palmer was already thinking about taking down more wildlife for his next trophy — this time, an elephant! Bronkhorst continued:
“The client asked if we would find him an elephant larger than 63 pounds, [the weight of one tusk] which is a very large elephant, but I told him I would not be able to find one so big, so the client left the next day.”
The hunter admits he should have taken the animal to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlfe Management Authority. He even revealed how he doesn’t enjoy his profession:
“I don’t want to shoot any animals. I do it because it is the only way I can earn a living.”
What do you think of the professional hunter’s claims?
[Image via Facebook.]